Course Description

As we become fully immersed in the so-called “the visual age,” we need to be able to act as critical consumers and producers of the media that saturates our lives. This course engages the visual age while pushing back against the tendency to assume that “new” media cannot be studied through classic principles of style, composition, and design. This class will introduce strategies for critiquing and producing visual media including juxtaposition, pose, figure, metaphor, composition, duration, rhythm, montage, foregrounding, and stream-of-consciousness.

To master visual communication as critics, we will write and deliver “mini critiques” in preparation for a larger critical essay that will be written with the intention to publish or publicly present the project at the end of the semester. (Undergraduate) To master visual communication as producers, we will design and make personal brand images using Photoshop and write and produce short, no-dialogue narrative films using iMovie. We approach visual culture as a site of convergence for power and privilege; you will engage with the forms of images and their power to shape our consciousness, reifying conceptions of race, belonging, identity, morality, and normality.

Personal Brand Project

The Personal Brand Project is a four-part assignment involving:

(1) still, non-collage image with a name;

(2) icon or avatar version of that image;

(3) 75-100 word blurb or “about me”;

(4) 2-3 minute extemporaneous in-class presentation overviewing the artist-author’s creative process.

All of the components should be integrated—enriching and informing each other—but not redundant. The purpose of this assignment is to translate your complexities as a being in the world--your contradictions, values, aspirations, commitments, etc.--into a single word-image that visually communicates “you” to the world.

Simultaneously, in working to craft the brand, you will be engaging the rhetorical and ethical dilemmas of making visual messaging choices.

Visual Criticism Essay

Coming soon!

Short Film Project

Coming soon!